Newspapers are in varying states of crisis these days, but Newhouse/Advance publications like the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and the company’s papers in Huntsville, Mobile and Birmingham, AL seem highest on the misery scale.
Cutbacks from daily to semi-daily publication and dramatic reductions in the professional journalists who staff the papers may be the first of many in the industry, or years from now may prove to be flukes.
What’s clear is that all media are in crisis and will be for some time. It’s anyone’s guess whether these crises have peaked, or even after 10 years are still in their infancy. Newsrooms across all traditional mediums — newspaper, television, radio — are smaller than they’ve been in decades. Profits are down dramatically. Sale prices for media properties are low — which is one reason investors like Warren Buffett are buying newspapers.
This is not a crisis where the usual rules apply. Media aren’t hounding media to ask why they’re losing money and cutting staff. It’s more of a comment on the state of our democracy and how the generation under 30 — along with a host of people under 60 — consume media now and where they find their news.
There may be individual success formulas that others copy, but those won’t be universal. This crisis is still playing itself out.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.